USS Gary &
HSM 49 Det 4
SAN DIEGO - U.S. Navy frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) is scheduled to return to Naval Base San Diego from its final deployment, where it operated in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations.
San Diego Ship Homecoming
USS Gary returns from final deployment
U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - U.S. Navy frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) is scheduled to return to Naval Base San Diego April 17 from its final deployment, where it operated in the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations.
During the seven-month deployment, Gary, the embarked "Scorpions" of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) 49 Detachment 4, and a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET), played an integral role in Operation Martillo.
Operation Martillo is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort launched in January 2012 targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. Partner nations work together to counter the spread of transnational criminal organizations, and to protect citizens in Central America from the violence, harm and exploitation created by these criminal groups.
"This has been a very successful deployment in many regards, a deployment I would refer to as a 'strong finish' for the last remaining west coast frigate in the fleet," said Cmdr. Steven McDowell, Gary's commanding officer. "When we departed for this deployment our intent was to make a difference and we did."
While supporting Operation Martillo, Gary participated in more than 70 small boat operations and coordinated with several U.S. Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and surface units to include U.S. Navy and Canadian warships, U.S. Coast Guard cutters, and Panamanian, Colombian, Costa Rican, and Ecuadorian Coast Guard vessels in an effort to share resources and strengthen operations while reinforcing commitment to the region. The team successfully interdicted 13,921 kilograms of cocaine, with a wholesale value of $278.4 million and 18 pounds of marijuana, valued at $17,100.
U.S. Coast Guard LEDET Officer in Charge Lt. Parker Pouser was very pleased with the success of the joint Navy and Coast Guard team.
"The inter-country/inter-service coordination and partnership conducted in support of Operation Martillo has been invaluable," said Pouser. "We were able to seamlessly integrate from day one to make a solid partnership that proved immensely successful in combating the flow of illicit narcotics."
The ship's helicopter detachment, HSM-49 Detachment 4 flew more than 700 hours of flight operations throughout the deployment and their return to Naval Air Station North Island April 16 marks the last active-duty deployment of the SH-60B Seahawk. The sundown ceremony for the SH-60B is scheduled May 11 at Naval Air Station North Island.
"Our embarked helicopters bring a tremendous capability to the ship, but only through the phenomenal teamwork between the Sailors of Gary and of HSM-49 does that capability really pay dividends," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Gzybowski, officer in charge of the detachment.
Following Gary's return, the ship will begin to make preparations for decommissioning.
Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.
Follow USS Gary on Facebook at: facebook.com/ussgaryffg51
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Team Carl Vinson departs U.S. 5th Fleet, compass points toward home
by MCSN D'Andre L. Roden, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs
USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), At sea (NNS) -- The Carl Vinson Strike Group and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), April 16, after six months of conducting air strikes over Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
While in the region, Team Vinson successfully flew 12,300 sorties including 2,300 flying combat missions, landed more than 9,462 aircraft and dropped a total of 832 bombs.
"I am extremely proud of the men and women who have made sacrifices in support of our county and our Navy, said Rear Adm. Chris Grady, Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group commander. "Since we departed San Diego in August of last year, Team Vinson has executed complex missions with precision, extraordinary skill and complete professionalism. We remain ready to respond to any and all challenges while operating in the Commander, 7th Fleet (C7F) area of responsibility (AOR). I am also thankful for the continuous support we received from friends and family members and we all look forward to arriving home safely. We contributed in real ways, and you all should be proud of that."
Not only did Team Vinson Sailors successfully complete five U.S. 5th Fleet port visits with zero liberty incidents, but the strike group also received numerous awards and accreditations such as the Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Food Service Award and the Chief of Naval Operation Safety Award.
Additionally, CVW 17 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 Stingers and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 Red Lions received the Battle Efficiency Award.
After months of meeting mission every day, Capt. Karl Thomas, Carl Vinson commanding officer, expressed his gratitude to the team and their mission-oriented focus.
"We've been doing the same thing day-in and day-out." said Thomas. "Not once did this group of Sailors get complacent. They have answered every call and performed exceptionally both onboard the ship and out on liberty. I've been happy to see good spirits and teamwork across the ship and air wing and I appreciate it."
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 relieved Carl Vinson and CVW 17, April 13 as the active carrier in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group will soon depart the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility for its homeport of San Diego. Theodore Roosevelt will take over support of maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO.
For more information and photos of USS Carl Vinson operations, visit www.facebook.com/USSVINSON.
LCS Crew 103 wins FY-14 CNO Afloat Safety Award
by MC2 Connor Minto, USS Fort Worth Public Affairs
CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (NNS) -- Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Crew 103, currently embarked aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) was announced as a recipient of the FY-2014 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Afloat Safety Award, April 15.
In an official naval message released by the Navy Safety Center, LCS Crew 103 was named winner of the award for Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, littoral warfare category.
According to the message, this award recognizes outstanding contributions to fleet readiness, increased morale, efficiency and economical use of resources through safety.
In addition to an outstanding safety record, LCS Crew 103 had an aggressive safety program that actively contributed to increased mishap prevention, including comprehensive and professional internal safety reporting.
Fort Worth is the first LCS to deploy under the "3-2-1" manning concept, which allows LCS to sustain a 16-month forward presence without fatiguing the crew during the extended deployment. Under this concept, three rotational crews will support two LCS ships and maintain one deployed ship.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Diaz, LCS Crew 103's safety officer, their safety program applies to them wherever they go.
"Being part of a rotational crew and in the LCS community means that whenever Crew 103 takes command of an LCS ship we take our safety standards with us," said Diaz. "Whether it's USS Freedom (LCS 1) in San Diego, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) here in the 7th Fleet, or the future USS Detroit (LCS 7), which we sail out of the Great Lakes in late 2015, wherever we go, our standards go with us."
As part of the 3-2-1 manning concept, Crew 103 is not always embarked aboard an LCS and will continue training on shore at LCS Squadron (LCSRON) 1 headquarters in San Diego.
"We continually review safety programs in our 'off-hull' status to include heat stress, hearing conservation, tag out procedures and electrical safety," said Diaz. "We also conduct our quarterly safety committee and council meetings. Additionally, we continue with a rigorous off-hull training plan that includes safety training in the areas of operational risk management, safety stand-downs and continuing to monitor the health of the ship's safety program, that way when we go back on hull we are in a safety mindset from the start."
According to Chief Operations Specialist John Dubose, LCS Crew 103's assistant safety officer, safety is a 24-hour concern, which is why the crew covered many off-duty safety topics during training. These included; traffic safety, summer safety, alcohol awareness, general motorcycle safety, firearm safety, water safety, off-road vehicle safety and boating safety.
"Safety is everyone's responsibility in the Navy, whether a Sailor is on duty or off duty," said Dubose. "The departmental safety representatives for LCS Crew 103, as well as the entire crew as a whole, take that to heart and that's what it takes to win an award such as this one."
SAN DIEGO (April 9, 2015) - Lt. Josh Sando, the deputy assistant chief of staff for operations for Littoral Combat Squadron (LCSRON) 1, was named the recipient of the 2014 Chief of Naval Operations Shore Safety Award for military officers. Safety programs help to prevent mishaps and injuries and improve combat readiness while supporting the "Warfighting First" tenet as directed by Commander, Naval Surface Forces and the Chief of Naval Operations. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Sean Lenahan
LCSRON 1 Sailors win FY-14 CNO Safety Awards
by MC1 Trevor Welsh,
Naval Surface Force,
U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO – Two service members assigned to Littoral Combat Squadron (LCSRON) 1 in San Diego were announced as individual recipients of the FY-2014 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Shore Safety Award, April 2.
In an official naval message released by the Navy Safety Center, Lt. Josh Sando was named the recipient of the officer award and Operations Specialist 2nd Class Christian Turner was named the recipient of the award for enlisted personnel.
According to the Naval Safety Center message, these awards recognize outstanding support and achievement in safety and occupational health. Both the individual winners excelled in reducing mishaps and in demonstrating strong safety leadership.
For Sando and Turner the individual recognition is welcome, but creating a safety program and nurturing it into an award-winning and readiness excellence-worthy system is even more valuable.
“A big part of why 2014 was so significant was we did something that no one had thought to do before,” said Sando. “It was really a very simple solution. We took a check sheet, delineated responsibility then established a periodicity.”
Sando said LCSRON 1 is a unique squadron because of having nearly 300 personnel compared with a destroyer squadron which usually has less than 50 personnel.
“This allows us to leverage our robust departments responsible for specific administrative and material aspects to get the job done efficiently and effectively,” said Sando.
Shortly after reporting to LCSRON 1 in Sept. 2013, Sando said he was assigned as the afloat safety officer as a collateral duty. With Turner’s assistance, he immediately conceived, drafted and implemented multiple safety instructions to provide expectations to all subordinate ships, crews and detachments in relation to all aspects of safety and occupational health.
Sando said he contributes both his and Turner’s success and recognition to the support received from the LCSRON 1 leadership.
“Support from our chain of command was the biggest contributing factor and ultimately the reason we were able to win the award; nothing we did or do would have been possible without that back-up and support,” said Sando. “The biggest support we received was with enforcing programmatic compliance and understanding it’s not ok to just survive a safety inspection, but to go in with the goal to beat the number of discrepancies from the last time.”
With the goal of setting a new standard and creating a substantial safety culture base, Sando and Turner said they set out to achieve combat effectiveness in the form of the coveted “Yellow E” unit award for safety excellence.
Through their leadership, three subsequent safety inspections resulted in an average of 28 percent fewer discrepancies per ship and 47 percent fewer than the fleet average, allowing all eight eligible units to qualify for the Yellow E. This was a significant increased from 2013 where zero of six units met the requirements.
“We are setting a class standard,” said Turner. “We aren’t just setting a baseline for the current crews, but instead we are building a solid base and setting the standard for the LCS community and future crews.”
Shipboard safety programs help to prevent mishaps and injuries and improve combat readiness while supporting the "Warfighting First" tenet as directed by Commander, Naval Surface Forces and the CNO.
First Class Petty Officers work to improve leadership at 'The Foundry'
by MCCS Donnie W. Ryan,
Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from commands throughout Navy Region Southwest marched down the pier and carried their seabags on board the USS Midway (CV 41) Museum in San Diego Bay to start a weeklong leadership academy known as "The Foundry", April 12.
Sponsored by the Commander, Navy Region Southwest Chief Petty Officers Mess, The Foundry is in its third year of existence and was established to help first class petty officers develop into stronger deckplate leaders.
"Ultimately, there are three principles for The Foundry," said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Dean Ferguson who is serving as the event chairman for Class 003. "These are speak, share and shadow, which helps start the process of having an actual mentor that they can turn to for guidance later in their careers."
Ferguson said the goal of The Foundry is to spread the knowledge of leadership at all levels. The unique learning environment gives the first class petty officers an opportunity to step outside of their current command and draw upon the leadership experiences of their peers as well as senior mentors.
"It's all volunteer, both participants and mentors, which is one of the great things about The Foundry," said Ferguson. "You actually have to apply to attend. We are trying to find the people who are truly inspired to mentor others and want to be here."
During the week of activities participants like Stone and Campbell will take part in leadership training, mentoring sessions, physical fitness events and Navy history and heritage activities both on board Midway and in the local area including a trip to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in nearby Point Loma, California.
One Sailor who filled out an application to attend The Foundry was Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Johnathan Stone, who said he hopes to one day become a command master chief.
"I think I'm going to learn a lot from the experiences of my peers and get a lot of hands-on training from our senior leadership," said Stone, who is assigned to the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit San Diego-North Island.
Stone said he heard The Foundry was a great mentorship tool where leaders come together to share experiences and the events scheduled both on board Midway and in the local community will provide a lot of learning opportunities.
"I think visiting the USO [United Service Organizations] and seeing some of our newer troops waiting to transit to their next duty station or who are flying back home to see mom and dad and talking to them and hearing their stories will be beneficial," said Stone. "I also think the history tour of the national cemetery will be interesting."
For Culinary Specialist 1st Class Nicole Campbell, who is currently assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), the chance to attend The Foundry was an opportunity to improve her professional knowledge.
"Being the LPO [leading petty officer] and supervising Sailors every day, I wanted the opportunity to learn from others and improve my leadership" said Campbell. "The mentors will allow me to take what they have learned from their past experiences, use it, and then pass that on to junior Sailors.
The next class for The Foundry is scheduled to take place Oct. 11-16. For more information, and to apply for admission, visit www.thefoundry365.org
National Military News
DoD 2015 military pay and compensation rates
by Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of Defense 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members have most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay.
The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.
Basic pay for service members will increase one percent, except for general and flag officers who will not see an increase in 2015. For example, an E-4 with 3 years of service will see an increase in basic pay of $22.20 per month, while an O-3 with 6 years of service will receive a basic pay increase of $54.30 per month in 2015.
Basic allowance for housing rates for service members in 2015 will increase on average $17 per month, or 0.5 percent. Rates are calculated using median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. Two changes were made to BAH rate computations for 2015: renter's insurance, which contributed an average of one percent to rates, was eliminated, and the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act reduced housing rates on average one percent for service members.
However, individual rate protection for service members remains an integral part of the BAH program. This means that even if BAH rates decline - including through the elimination of renter's insurance and the reduction in the calculated rate - a service member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see a rate decrease. This ensures that service members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if local housing costs decrease.
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the basic allowance for housing calculator here.
The 2015 basic allowance for subsistence rates for military members will increase by 2.9 percent over last year. The new rates are:
* $367.92 per month for enlisted members
* $253.38 per month for officers
The annual adjustments to basic allowance for subsistence -- a monthly nontaxable cash payment to military members intended to be used to buy food -- are linked to changes in food prices as measured by the annual change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost of Food at Home Index. From the beginning of October 2013 through the end of September 2014, the index rose by 2.9 percent, forming the basis for the increased BAS rates.
The Defense Department also released its 2015 contiguous United States cost of living allowance rates. Roughly 12,000 members will see a decrease in their CONUS COLA payments, while some 7,000 members will see an increase or no change, and 4,000 members will no longer receive a CONUS COLA payment.
CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in high-cost locations, and rates vary based on location, pay grade, years of service and dependent status. Rates can increase or decrease depending on the prices in a specific duty location compared to prices in an average CONUS location. Service members can calculate their CONUS COLA rate here.
National Military News
5 things you need to know about
flat rate per diem
From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- To provide an incentive to Sailors and civilians on long-term temporary duty assignment (TDY) to seek out extended-stay lodgings, the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) was changed Nov. 1.
The change to a flat rate will help the Department of Defense (DoD) save more than $22 million a year and is in keeping with what many federal agencies already outline for reduced travel rates for longer stays.
Here are five things you need to know about flat rate per diem:
1. Long-term TDY is any temporary duty longer than 30 days. Travel from 31 to 180 days will receive a flat-rate per diem of 75 percent. For travel greater than 180 days, the flat-rate per diem will be at 55 percent. Flat rate will apply to all three parts of the per diem - lodging, meals and incidentals.
2. When staying in government lodging, a traveler will be reimbursed for actual lodging costs. The flat rate per diem does not apply when government lodging or contracted government lodging is available and directed, when contracted government lodging is provided at no cost, or if a traveler chooses to stay in government quarters.
3. Currently the Defense Travel System (DTS) does not automatically calculate the reduced per diem based on the length of the TDY. Travelers should follow their component guidelines for how to handle TDY in DTS.
4. Travelers may consider furnished apartments or similar types of lodging, which are typically cheaper than the standard room rate at commercial hotels. This policy change also simplifies travel expense management as you will not be required to submit lodging receipts or itemize utilities and furniture rental when renting a home, if receiving the flat rate per diem.
5. You still have options if you are unable to find extended-stay lodging within a reasonable distance of the duty location, or if additional costs arise. You may work with your approving official to do actual-expense authorizations, which may go above the flat-rate per diem to 100 percent, if needed. At no time should travelers end up paying out-of-pocket for authorized TDY expenses.
For further information visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil.